An Air Force Academy cadet was acquitted by a military judge Wednesday after a two-day court-martial on allegations that he groped a female classmate in a classroom.
Sophomore cadet Jackson Spalding was cleared on three counts of sexual assault and a single count of conduct unbecoming an officer after his attorneys poked holes in the testimony of the alleged victim.
Spalding, a graduate of Discovery High School in Colorado Springs, had waived his right to a trial by a panel of officers, leaving judge Lt. Col. Marvin Tubbs in sole control of his fate.
The alleged victim in the case said she was a freshman cadet when she met Spalding on March 6, 2016 to watch a movie after classes were over. She said Spalding kissed and groped in during an encounter in an empty classroom where she was "frozen" with fear and unable to speak.
"That is not how it happened," Spalding lawyer Capt. Diane Ingram told Tubbs as the trial opened Tuesday. "This case is going to boil down to her credibility."
Defense attorneys highlighted inconsistencies in the woman's account and pounced on the fact that Spalding stopped what he was doing and left the room when the woman voiced objection.
Spalding's acquittal cleared him of the charges and cleared the way for him to stay at the academy and return to the school's track and field team, where he competes in the discus, hammer and shot put.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240